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Judi Lynn

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Commentary: Oaxaca Teachers Strike Is About Defending The Revolutionary Educational Tradition

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Commentary: Oaxaca Teachers Strike Is About Defending The Revolutionary Educational Tradition

John Ackerman of UNAD says that acts of state violence, like the police killings at the Oaxaca teacher strike and the "disappearance" of 43 students Guerrero, show that Mexico is not a democracy


Commentary: Oaxaca Teachers Strike Is About Defending The Revolutionary Educational Tradition

JOHN ACKERMAN: Almost a dozen teachers and community members fell dead this Sunday, June 19 in Oaxaca. The press said this happened in clashes between police and teachers, as if it was somehow a balanced battlefield. No. This is not the case.

On one side we had federal police, masked gunmen with high-caliber weapons, at the service of a government which now has a long track record of assassinating, eliminating its adversaries in various parts of the country. On the other hand, we have teachers, armed with pencils and notebooks, defending their jobs, defending their freedom of speech, and high-quality education.

The Mexican government now has a few years, ever since, particularly, Enrique Pena Nieto came to power on December 1, 2012, we’ve had every few months massacres committed by state government forces. The most obvious case internationally known is the disappearance of 43 students and the assassination of another 3 on the night of September 26, 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero. Students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college. But before that we had the Tlatlaya massacre. After that, Apatzingan, [inaud.].

The Mexican security forces are out of control. There is no limitation of force, and there is a systematic abuse of human rights. This last Sunday we had a protest of teachers, supported by community members. They were blocking a highway, a very typical form of protest, against the education reform. [Register the] parentheses, here. The education reform is not really an education reform. It’s a labor reform designed to push out the most critical participative teachers. It’s designed to purge the long history of democratic unionism and critical, even revolutionary, education, which Mexico’s had for the last hundred years.


Putin concerned about Mongolian dam threatening Lake Baikal

Source: Associated Press

Putin concerned about Mongolian dam threatening Lake B

Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press
Updated 4:14 pm, Thursday, June 23, 2016

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's President Vladimir Putin voiced strong concern Thursday about Mongolia's plans to build a hydroelectric plant on a river flowing into Lake Baikal, warning it could endanger the world's deepest lake.

. . .

Putin suggested that Russian power plants could increase electricity supply to Mongolia instead to help meet its energy needs.

The hydropower plant project long has drawn criticism from environmental groups, which expressed fears that it could endanger the world's oldest lake, formed more than 25 million years ago.

Environmentalists warn that the Mongolian dam project would disrupt the Selenga River flow into Lake Baikal and pose catastrophic threat to many of its 2,500 species, of which more than 75 percent are believed to exist only in its waters.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/world/article/Putin-concerned-about-Mongolian-dam-threatening-8321072.php


Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal seals, the world's only freshwater seals. [/center]

Please see more images of fascinating Lake Baikal:


How One Bolivian Hospital Is Battling Maternal Mortality—By Reaching Back Thousands of Years

How One Bolivian Hospital Is Battling Maternal Mortality—By Reaching Back Thousands of Years

By Michele Bertelli, Felix Lill & Javier Sauras
June 23, 2016

Indigenous women around the world are torn between embracing modern approaches to childbirth and preserving age-old traditions. This surprisingly simple solution could save millions of moms.

Under the dim hospital light, a midwife, a doctor, a pregnant woman and her mother silently ponder what they should do with a baby that fiercely resists coming out of the womb. The longer the labor, the more dangerous it gets, and it has been almost a full day since the woman arrived here at the hospital. In Bolivia, which has the second-highest maternal mortality rate in South America, such a delay is a mortal threat. But here, in the high Andean plateau, hours from any major hospital, the mother is in very good hands.

The pregnant woman never wanted to go to the hospital. The night before, her mother called Doña Leonarda, the midwife, or partera, to attend the delivery according to traditional Aymara customs. Doña Leonarda was working at the hospital today, so the woman reluctantly came here. Lying on her back, eyes wide open, the mother looks terrified. A young nurse turns to the physician, Dr. Henry Flores, and asks whether she should call the ambulance and take the woman to La Paz for a C-section.

“That would be unwise,” Flores answers in a smooth, low-pitch tone.

It would take more than two hours to get to the capital city and that could be too risky, too late for her. Her pain is increasing and she is already dilated. The doctor measures her contractions and tells the nurse to give the woman an IV solution. “It’s only vitamins,” Doña Leonarda says. But she knows better: they are dripping a painkiller into a plastic bag hanging from a pole – one of the few traces of modernity in this small chamber of the rural hospital. Three deep breaths later Dr. Flores makes a decision.

“Should we try the traditional way?” he asks the partera.

“She is weak but she can do it,” Doña Leonarda answers.


Caribbean Sea's Curious 'Whistle' Detected from Space

Caribbean Sea's Curious 'Whistle' Detected from Space

By Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer | June 23, 2016 03:28pm ET

The murmur of lapping ocean waves and the crash of breaking surf are familiar to any beachgoer. But scientists recently discovered a remarkable ocean sound unlike any other, produced by a unique combination of water movement and underwater geography in the Caribbean Sea.

While the sound is at a frequency inaudible to human ears — about 28 octaves below the lowest note on a piano, according to the researchers — it can be detected in space, from the disruptions it causes in Earth's gravity field.

Bounded by South America, Central America and the Caribbean islands, the semi-enclosed basin of the Caribbean Sea acts like the body of a giant whistle, the scientists wrote in the study. And what produces the sound is a recurring but very slow-moving and low-amplitude wave pattern that travels the length of the sea in a 120-day cycle. (Video: 'Whistling' Ocean 'Heard' in Space)

Known as a Rossby wave, its motion combines with pressure on the sea bottom to generate an inaudible solo that resonates from the basin, much like how air blown into a whistle produces a melodic toot.


In Havana, Ban hails Colombia ceasefire pact as example of peace with dignity

Source: United Nations News Center

In Havana, Ban hails Colombia ceasefire pact as example of peace with dignity

23 June 2016 – In Havana, Cuba, today to witness the signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement and laying down of weapons between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the importance of the historic event as an exemplary implementation of peace.

“On this day, in a world beset by seemingly intractable wars, the peace process in Colombia delivers on a key commitment: an agreement on a ceasefire and the laying down of weapons,” the Secretary-General said.

“Today the Colombian peace process validates the perseverance of all those around the world who work to end violent conflict not through the destruction of the adversary, but through the patient search for compromise,” he added.

Mr. Ban expressed admiration for the negotiating teams, which he said have demonstrated that it is possible to “achieve peace with dignity for all concerned.”

Read more: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54312#.V2xVEOT2aWw

Colombia government and FARC rebels confirm historic ceasefire

Source: Colombia Reports

Colombia government and FARC rebels confirm historic ceasefire

written by Adriaan Alsema June 22, 2016

Colombia’s government and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, confirmed Wednesday that they have agreed to end more than half a century of hostilities and will announce a ceasefire and the road map for the guerrillas’ demobilization on Thursday.

The ceremony will be held in Havana, Cuba, where the rebels and the government have been negotiating peace talks since 2012 as reported on Tuesday.

UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, as well as the presidents of five Latin American countries will be present at the signing of the ceasefire, little more than 52 years after the FARC was founded.

On behalf of the warring parties, the ceremony will be attended by President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC’s leadership.

Read more: http://colombiareports.com/colombia-government-farc-rebels-confirm-ceasefire-deal/

The Racist and Sexist Nature of Brazil’s New Government

June 20, 2016
The Racist and Sexist Nature of Brazil’s New Government

by Adam Bledsoe

The overtly racist and sexist nature of Michel Temer’s government in Brazil is cause for concern in South America’s largest country. Over the past several weeks critics have appropriately pointed out the various ways in which the new government has threatened the country’s most marginalized sectors—closing avenues to affordable housing, removing women and people of color from government posts, and threatening to de-fund constitutionally-guaranteed services like healthcare and education. While all of these actions have been aptly criticized for their potential effects on the Brazilian poor, Temer’s decision to dissolve the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) has not received sufficient attention, despite the fact that such a measure means the continuation and intensification of anti-Black racism for many Brazilian communities. Specifically, Brazil’s communities face dire prospects as a result of INCRA’s closing.

The word “quilombo” is of African origin and was used to designate Brazil’s maroon communities during pre-abolition times. This concept was resurrected during the late 20th century by Brazil’s Black Movement as Black Brazilians sought to address the country’s long history of anti-Blackness by demanding that Afro-descendant communities with unique cultural, social, and political practices—modern day quilombos—be granted legal land titles. The Movement succeeded in securing legislation for the recognition of quilombo land rights in Brazil’s 1988 constitution, and INCRA was designated as the body that would measure and delimit quilombo territories. INCRA, therefore, played a vital function in quilombo efforts to attain legal possession of their lands. This territorial titling is often crucial to the continuation of these communities’ existences, as quilombo often engage in various subsistence practices, such as fishing, farming, foraging, and shellfish collection. Clearly, access to land is central to quilombo ways of life. By dissolving INCRA, Michel Temer has actively eliminated an organ upon which Brazilian quilombo counted for legal recognition. Moreover, Temer has taken further steps to systemically marginalizequilombo land tenure.

Not only has INCRA been dissolved under Temer’s government, but its territorial titling functions have been passed on to the Ministry of Education, which is headed by José Mendonça Bezerra Filho of the Democrats Party—a political party that actively tried to prevent the formalization of quilombola rights in 2012. In other words, quilombo titling is now undertaken by a politician from a party fundamentally opposed to the very existence of quilombo communities. It is obvious that by jeopardizing the process of territorial titling, Michel Temer’s actions have further compromised the Brazilian quilombos’ ability to protect their unique ways of life, thereby adding a new aspect of anti-Black racism to the national landscape. A number of cases from the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia demonstrate the ways in which the recent government changes act as further marginalizing factors against quilombos..

The state of Bahia has the highest number of culturally certified quilombos in all of Brazil. Despite the large number of cultural certifications among the communities there, the grand majority of quilombos in Bahia remain territorially un-titled. In many cases this is significant because of the violence that quilombos face in their attempts to defend their ways of life. quilombo Rio dos Macacos, for instance, located in the municipality of Simões Filho just outside the city of Salvador, has fought for years to receive its territorial title from the government in part because of the brutality it faces from the Brazilian navy. For around fifty years, the navy has encroached on and appropriated Rio dos Macacos land—a process that has entailed a variety of violent actions, as quilombo members have been beaten, shot, sexually assaulted, and had their property continually destroyed by naval soldiers. One of the ways in which the quilombo has attempted to protect its over 200 year legacy of self-subsistence has been to petition the government for territorial recognition. After years of public audiences and trips to Brasilia to meet with INCRA officials, Rio dos Macacos was set to receive its territorial title in 2016. However, with the dissolution of INCRA and the assumption of titling powers by the Ministry of Education, members of Rio dos Macacos now fear they may not receive their title, after all. During a recent trip to Brasilia to discuss what the change in government might mean for the community’s title, quilombo members were led to believe that there would be no more progress on their territory’s titling. Events in recent weeks make the prospect of indefinite lack of titling especially grim, as naval soldiers have again resorted to violent intimidation tactics against quilombo community members—confiscating the subsistence crops of a 71 year old man and employing drones to invasively observe daily life in the quilombo. The prospect of losing access to this constitutional right looms large not just for those struggling against military encroachment, however.


‘Santos to announce ceasefire with FARC on Thursday’

Source: Colombia Reports

‘Santos to announce ceasefire with FARC on Thursday’

written by Adriaan Alsema June 21, 2016

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos will announce a bilateral ceasefire with FARC rebels on Thursday, local media reported based on sources within the government.

According to newspaper El Tiempo, Santos will travel to Havana, Cuba to personally announce the ceasefire that would also mark the beginning of the demobilization and disarmament of the country’s largest and oldest rebel group.

Anonymous government sources told the newspaper that “they are still analyzing details,” but “it’s possible that this Thursday there will be a deal on the subpoint of the ceasefire.”

In an interview with Caracol Radio, the chairman of the Senate’s Peace Commission, Senator Roy Barreras, said negotiators expect to finalize these details within hours or days.

Read more: http://colombiareports.com/santos-announce-ceasefire-farc-thursday/

Inside the race to save Cuba’s coral reefs

Inside the race to save Cuba’s coral reefs

Kyle Deas • May 26, 2016

For years, it was an open secret among divers and researchers alike that the coral reefs of Cuba were spectacular. The few who found a way to dive off the coast of the island came back with tales of the seagrass beds of the Gulf of Batabanó, of shipwrecks and caves along the Isla de la Juventud, and of the lush reefs and mangrove forests of the Jardines de la Reina archipelago.

Decades of limited development and tourism took a toll on the Cuban economy, but they also helped the island’s major reef chains to escape much of the destruction that affected reefs elsewhere in the Caribbean. In many of Cuba’s gulfs, the corals quietly thrived.

Today, with the relationship between the United States and Cuba improving, more collaboration is possible on scientific topics than ever before. That means that researchers and conservationists are now scrambling to collect data on the coral reefs — before climate change destroys their preserved state.

Fernando Bretos, the director of the Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program (CubaMar) of the Ocean Foundation, is one such conservationist. Bretos first visited Cuba in 1999. At that time, he had taken a position focusing on the Caribbean at the Ocean Conservancy. “I was selected because I spoke Spanish and knew Latin America,” he says. “The position involved considerable work in Cuba, and, at the time, there were very few U.S. organizations on the island.”



Interesting photos cuba coral reef snorkeling:


March: Cuba Has Made At Least 3 Major Medical Innovations That We Need

Cuba Has Made At Least 3 Major Medical Innovations That We Need

The trade embargo is holding up research in some crucial areas.

 03/15/2016 02:36 pm ET
Anna Almendrala 

By most measures, the United States’ business-friendly environment has proven to be fertile for medical innovation. Compared to other countries, America has filed the most patents in the life sciences, is conducting most of the world’s clinical trials and has published the most biomedical research.

That’s what makes the medical prominence of Cuba all the more surprising to those who view a free market as an essential driver of scientific discovery. Cuba is very poor, and yet the country has some of the healthiest, most long-lived residents in the world — as well as a medical invention or two that could run circles around U.S. therapies, thanks to government investment in scientific research and a preventive public health approach that views medical care as a birthright.

The island nation, hemmed in by a 54-year trade embargo with the U.S., can’t exchange goods with one of the world’s largest economies and the largest medical market. Still, the country is an unlikely global leader in public health and scientific investment.

“If people knew about these cutting-edge treatments coming out of Cuba, people would want to have them,” said Pierre LaRamée, executive director of the Oakland-based Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba, which advocates for Cuban medical inventions in the U.S. and publishes an international, peer-reviewed journal focusing on Cuban health and medicine.


On edit, this article was just added to Good Reads, also:
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